The sweet taste of freedom
It’s hard to look for the light when your lost in darkness ~ Anonymous
Back in the day, I was a lesbian and very proud. I can remember the feelings of being a lesbian and having a woman touch me in a very sensual manner. The curves of a woman’s body, her sweet scent, lips and eyes would always beckon me. Sparkling Green, translucent blue and seductive deep brown eyes were the colors I once beheld.
Being with a woman had been one of the most spiritual experiences that I had ever known. As I close my eyes, at this very moment, I can envision the women who were a part of my life, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Each woman had their own inner essence which touched my heart. True love always existed in the beginning in my relationships but, with time comes change and well, people change.
I believe in the back of my mind there appeared to be a reflection of the perfect life filled with the perfect lover who would stand by me, always. I don’t believe that I ever asked for too much or maybe I did. All my wants and needs were based on trust, unconditional love, respect and cherishing that special person, me. Fairy tale images danced before my eyes yet, reality crushed each of them, one by one.
One incident in particular is etched in my mind forever. My lover and I lived in Brooklyn between my apartment and her parent’s house. It was a quiet neighborhood except for the sirens that woke us at three in the morning. Houses were lined up like little soldiers guarding their turf. Six months out of the year we house sat for her parent’s two story house and lived in the basement as they were snow birds in Florida. The other six months were spent at my apartment eleven blocks away. I worked as an accountant for a company located in the Empire State Building, in the heart of Manhattan and I had been a college student taking a full load. My commute consisted of two trains and a bus to get home.
It was around 11:30 in the evening when I stepped off the bus. I pulled my gloves out of my pockets from my red fleeced lined coat as the night chill went right through me. The streets were quiet as the moonlight reflected off the parked cars. I slowly made my way home passing houses that were dark and peaceful.
I had just gotten into the house and heard the television in the living room blaring. A Cinnamon broom hung on the brown paneled wall. It intoxicated me, surrounded me, whispering in my ear, Christmas is next week. My lover continued eating popcorn and watching the end of the news broadcast. I had not eaten dinner and my stomach growled, moving like a freight train. So, I quietly entered the kitchen and made a toasted raisin bagel. The warm bread filled the air with its sweet aroma. I quickly cleaned up my mess, whipping down the beige counter top and I threw the empty container of cream cheese into the large green garbage pail.
“Did you clean up your mess?” she asked. I responded quickly, “Of course I did.” I proceeded to enter our bedroom where the walls reflected baby blue and the five drawer dresser against the back wall resembled a relic with filigreed angels carved into the wood. On the top there were proudly erected black and white family photos of her mom and dad dating back forty some years ago. The curtains were black making sure sunlight never existed in this tomb we called home, and on my pillow laid a small Hershey’s kiss.
I immediately opened the silver wrapper and tossed the candy into my mouth while savoring its melting consistency. I flipped on the small television to catch the end of a comedy before going to bed. We never liked the same shows, but then again I rarely watched television since I had an extremely tight schedule.
While sitting on the bed enjoying my down time, I could hear her voice coming in waves from the kitchen. It was escalating yet, still mumbled. A few moments later, she stood in the doorway. Last week she went to a barber shop and left with an extremely short haircut. I saw an image of a small boy standing before me. She was short just like me. Her eyes were hard and dark like the black hole in our universe. Her feet were bare, her hips were slim, and her jeans were perfectly creased. Biceps were bulging and donned a white Metallica t-shirt with a small red stain near the hem. Red sauce slid off her fork and nosedived splattering on her shirt when I made an Italian meal three weeks ago.
She was screaming and pointing her finger at me while in the other hand, an empty container of cream cheese. “Didn’t I tell you before to stop wasting money? Every time I turn around it’s my hard earned money I see going down the toilet. I’ve f*cken had it” she said. There had been a thin layer of that dairy product on one side, pretty much empty in my opinion. But to her, I had wasted money “When are you going to listen to me, bitch” she blurted out.
As I stood up slowly, she proceeded to raise her fist above her head. I cried out, “I’m sorry, I swear I won’t do it again. I promise.” My knees became weak and my heart raced. I could feel my blood surging through my veins a million miles an hour. “You f*cken don’t listen to me” her voice became deeper as words began to burn holes into my being. I could feel the fire of the dragon’s breath upon me. My voice screeched, “I do, I do.” From that moment on I knew I was in trouble and alone. Even though she was only two inches taller than me, her upperbody strength surpassed mine. She made a direct hit to my chin and I lost my balance falling to the floor. My bagel went flying through the air as if it were a speeding bullet. It landed face down on the carpet, “What a mess, I’m not going to clean that up,” I thought.
The blow was hard enough that I could feel the swelling immediately. She hit me with all her strength. My heart palpitated. I felt a lump in my throat as tears streamed down my cheeks while tasting my own bitter salt. My body began to tremble uncontrollably. As I gathered my thoughts I tried to get up but, I was struck repeatedly. My glasses went flying into the baby blue wall cracking the left lens. I crawled on my hands and knees out of the bedroom listening to the shrieking of a mad woman two feet behind me. “Where do you think you’re going?” she asked.
When I first entered the lion’s den that night I placed my purse on the large two toned hand crafted wooden chest next to the front door. It was a wedding gift for her parents, forty something years ago. The filigree work consisted of inlaid angels and cherubs. But, the angels were not there to protect me or were they?
Gradually I found the courage to stand up again. She stepped towards me with wrath in her eyes as they seemed to glow a blazing red. “I’m going to teach you a lesson and this time you won’t forget it” she said. “Please stop, no more,” I whimpered. She forcefully pushed me against the wall and we struggled. I pleaded, “Please, stop your hurting me.” She shouted, “You stupid bitch, my money, my house you piece of sh*t.” My words fell onto deaf ears. I had knocked hanging family photographs onto the floor as I tried to fight back. Broken wooden frames and shattered pieces of glass lay everywhere.
Then the phone rang. Were the angels looking down upon me? It distracted her for a brief instant. I breathed a small sigh, grateful for the diversion. I grabbed the opportunity to push her away, turn and take hold of my purse. I ran out the door into the midnight hour. “I’m not done with you” she hollered. She didn’t follow me. I was grateful.
Everything was blurry and all I could see was the street lights glistening. Giant stars everywhere. When you are as nearsighted as I am plus crying, it just made matters worse. I stuck my hand into my black purse in search of a tissue. Damn it, there was nothing. The air was bitterly cold as the wind seemed to seep into my bones on that wintery December night. I walked, cried and proceeded to ruffle through my purse again in search of my dark shades. I needed to wear my sun glasses to see as much as I could.
Not a soul was on the streets that morning. I past houses in which families resided. Lights out, everyone comfortable in their beds sound asleep, dreaming. The funny thing was that a song kept racing through my mind about this guy wearing his sunglasses at night. I started to sing the song as loud as I could in hopes to calm my nerves.
“I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can
Forget my name while you collect your claim
And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can
See the light that’s right before my eyes…”
It was a devastating night that terrified me. The memory will linger in my mind forever.
Every time the physical brutality ended, it was the typical classic case of sudden remorse that would come over her, or was it? I would receive roses and other fragrant smelling flowers, chocolate candy as that was my favorite and love notes saying sorry and I love you. Weeks would go by in which she would not have any eruptions. It was like living with a volcano, you never knew when it would blow. We went back to our daily lives as if those events never happened. But, they always reoccurred.
The finale finally arrived and that day came on July 4th, Independence Day for me and the world. I walked away and never looked back. She felt I was leaving her because of her physical illness of MS and could not see the fear in my eyes or the pain in my heart. She was blind to see the truth. Our love was long gone. I felt like I was running for my life, to safety wherever that might have been. That commitment lasted for five and a half years.
I know now that I was a statistic in 1985 and not alone as other women traveled down the same traumatic path. I had taken an inward journey as many other women before me, and found the courage to be free from the oppression. I have tasted freedom and it is sweet. I found me and I like me for who I have become. I can close my dark hazel eyes and hear the peaceful silence of a new found woman.
Hart, Corey. “ Sunglasses At Night lyrics.” Elyrics. 2011 http://www.elyrics.net/read/c/corey-hart-lyrics/sunglasses-at-night-lyrics.html
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